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Brutal Legend (Xbox 360) artwork

Brutal Legend (Xbox 360) review


"Despite some high points, Brutal Legend doesn't take the concept anywhere meaningful, ends abruptly, and ultimately feels like the developers didn't know what they wanted to accomplish. The game reminded me of an inspirational era in music. Now that I've been reminded, I wouldn't mind if someone channels that inspiration into gaming."





Feeble old man: "Back in my day, children spent hours admiring record album artwork. That thrill is over now."

Sympathetic young'un: "Aww... why?"

Feeble old man: "With the digital revolution, there's no physical media. Record albums had front and back covers, but you could often flip the sleeve open to see artwork of a massive sprawling landscape, with demons and lava and volcanoes. Maybe even demonic metal faces with lava pouring from their mouths. Sitting on top of volcanoes."



Brutal Legend, billed as "a Tim Schafer game", pays tribute to such memories of desolate demonic wastelands. I don't give a Ratt's ass about Tim Schafer, but I certainly appreciate the sentiment. For an hour, I was prepared to herald this game as a work of genius.

Upon awakening in a magical land, hero Eddie spilled much druid blood with his BATTLE-AXE. After dispatching an enormous fork-tongued beast, Eddie and the distressed damsel drove off like bats out of hell to take down Emperor Dovinculus (who steals mens' souls and makes them his slaves).

Brutal Legend quickly introduced its real-time strategy (RTS) elements. During Exploited in the Bowels of Hell, Eddie led disgruntled workers to overthrow their hooded foreman. It wasn't a quiet riot; he inspired them with the power of ROCK. After enduring several electrical guitar shocks, the taskmaster was knocked into lava by the spinning wheel of pain (think Conan). More guards showed up, but the workers who toiled on the wheel of pain (think Conan) leapt down and begin banging the crap out of the guards with their iron heads. And so, this army became known as . . . IRONHEADE!

The energized feeling wouldn't last. Between missions, the overworld is large, drab, and sparsely populated by beasts that would look tame on an Iron Maiden album. Brutal Legend is a game stuck in the past, back when simply being 3D was new and exciting and provided enough reason to scour the world for collectibles. In today's world, it's a boring game with sporadic spikes of excitement.

RTS elements are plentiful and introduced at a reasonable pace. Unfortunately, even when Eddie learns to fly and survey the entire battlefield, guiding the camera and ordering troops to perform specific tasks is cumbersome and unpredictable. Furthermore, by the time I did start to cotton on to a winning methodology . . . the game ended! The single-player campaign is basically a multi-player tutorial. I'm all for epic online battles, but the single-player mode was advertised as a humorous heavy metal adventure (hence the hirings of Jack Black and Ozzy).

Despite some high points, Brutal Legend doesn't take the concept anywhere meaningful, ends abruptly, and ultimately feels like the developers didn't know what they wanted to accomplish. The game reminded me of an inspirational era in music. Now that I've been reminded, I wouldn't mind if someone channels that inspiration into gaming. Perhaps that metal-loving bastard Hagiwara should give the concept a shot; I'd welcome an adventure in Metallicana.

//Zig

Rating: 6/10

zigfried's avatar
Staff review by Zigfried (November 14, 2009)

Zigfried likes writing about whales and angry seamen, and often does so at the local pub.

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randxian posted November 14, 2009:

Where's the Natalie Portman reference?

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zigfried posted November 14, 2009:

Different review.

//Zig

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